Physical therapy clinic provides direct treatment

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The physical therapy clinic on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, has begun a direct access clinic to provide treatment for service members who have had an acute musculoskeletal injury within seven-days prior to the visit.

An acute musculoskeletal injury includes limb and joint sprains, strains and first-ever episode neck and back pain.

"It's important to get our patients, who have an acute injury, in quickly so that we are not delaying care," said Capt. Veronica Khrakovskaya, 51st Medical Operations Squadron physical therapist. "This will allow them to get back to their activities, and maintain their level of fitness and readiness that they need to have here at Osan."

The direct access clinic is available from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The sessions are shorter than the regular sessions to provide therapy for more patients. Service members will receive a 20 to 30 minute session.

"A lot of times with acute injuries, there is not a whole lot that can be done initially," Khrakovskaya said. "The biggest thing that we can do is patient education."

In terms of treatment, if it's appropriate, the clinic can do things such as spine manipulation, dry needling, different mobilization and stretching techniques and teach the patient their own methods of managing their pain.

Senior Airman David Letteer, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron nutritional medicine technician, visited the clinic after pulling a hamstring.

"Having my hamstring pulled was a painful experience," he said. "I was directed by my primary care manager to come here first to receive treatment."

Letteer received a variety of treatment for his pulled hamstring. He was provided with a western medical acupuncture, an ice pack to cool down and prevent any inflammation for the injury and was given a variety of stretching techniques and medicine.

"The therapy helped relieve all of the stress and helped me walk more at ease without as much pain," Letteer said. "I really appreciate the therapists for stepping up and taking care of me at such a short notice, and that they had everything prepared to take care of me."

The clinic allows Airmen to be able to walk in and receive on the spot treatment.

"We want Airmen to be able to return to duty quicker, know how to manage their injury and have that confidence to get back on track," Khrakovskaya said.